Here is the translation of his coming out interview with Vanity Fair (from October 2010) along with a few diary entries from the second book where he talks about said interview. If you’ve never read it, it’s very interesting and lengthy!
August 28th 2010
On my way to Sardinia… this time for real, I hope!
We’ve decided that I won’t do any promotion for the book. We launch the “event” on the pages of “Vanity Fair”. And that’s it. I like it, it’s the right way, the most discreet and elegant.
But today I’d like not to be called Tiziano Ferro. Maybe later I’ll look at my boarding pass and realize that my wish has come true and there’s another name printed on it.
September 21st 2010
It’s clear that from now nothing will be the same as before.
The image of me talking to Enrica, the journalist of “Vanity Fair”, is the photograph that immortalizes the beginning of my new life. The second part, the “post 30” part.
And it’s ugly to say it, but not even a terminal illness could stop me now.
I eat and sleep badly, as expected. I’ll have to slowly decompress all of these thoughts and all of these emotions. And I think about the fear of feeling normal.
Is it not more comfortable to always have an excuse to feel alone and different, to infinitely postpone having to deal with yourself? Maybe. But now I want to take the most absurd chance, let everyone see me, and aspire to the most boring thing in the world: to be considered NORMAL.
Vanity Fair article and interview:
What will happen next? Tiziano Ferro asks me. Then, he answers his own question: nothing will be the same as before. It’s not often that a singer has more expectations from an interview than a journalist. Especially if responding to your questions is a musician like Tiziano Ferro, someone who spent a large part of the past ten years at the top of the charts around the world. Someone who, since 2001, the year of Xdono, hasn’t underperformed with even one song, someone who has sold millions of albums and won more awards than fit on a computer screen. And who now, while we await next year’s new album, comes out with an autobiographical book: a collection of his diaries from 1995 to 2010 that is titled Trent’anni e una chiacchierata con papà, and that starts from a revelation. Indeed, from a gift that Ferro decided to make for himself and for everyone who loves him: to live happily.
This tale begins where all tales should begin: from the end, from the promise of love. And from there he begins as well, to answer my question as to why he wrote this book. “A couple of years ago,” he says, “I started a process of analysis, made up of psychotherapy and medication. For a time I had not felt well, mentally and physically, and I realized that I had to retake a series of things in my hands, starting with my relationship with homosexuality. So, at the end of last year, I’d come to a conclusion: I wanted to live that part of me, no longer consider it a monster, something negative, even debilitating. But I was also sure that, to be able to do it, I had to say goodbye to my work. I was convinced that the two things were incompatible. I talked about it with my father. I was under the delusion that I’d found a person with whom I could get it off my chest, but instead he scolded me: “It’s the right thing for you to be yourself, and if someone has something to say then tell them to fuck off. But if by doing so you set aside the music, you’re making an even bigger mistake than you have up to now, keeping silent about your homosexuality.” But then I thought: “Dear dad, what is it you want to tell me?” And I went to talk to my manager. I told myself: “He’ll be more rational, because he has a neutral point of view.” And instead Fabrizio unsettled me even more: “You deserve to have the life that you want, because like this you’re not happy. For eight years you’ve lived abroad, far away from the people who love you, and it’s not right. I’m on your side, but if you think of ending your career then you’re again making a mistake.” My dad and my manager had come to my defense with a strength that I’d never have expected, and both told me the same thing: you are more important than anything, you were wrong not to have realized that and now you are making another mistake. In two years of analysis I had understood many things, but not the way to cope with them. Today it seems absurd even to me, but in that moment I was really convinced that, to live my life, I had to deprive myself of my profession. Fortunately, not only did they make me understand that I was wrong: their reaction had been so clear cut that it “compelled” me to make my choice public. I’ve done so through my diaries: to me it seemed like the only option to explain things my way. So, to answer your question, the real reason why I wanted to write this book, well, obviously it’s because I’m looking for love, the part of my life that I’ve missed until now.”
Or, more correctly, that you’ve denied yourself until now. Why?
I don’t know. Maybe when you’re sick you see reality in a distorted way. No one has ever put me in this place where I believed it was a problem, I did that all on my own. People are always wondering what impact homosexuality has on society, and never consider the individual, the problems and the fragility of each one. Sometimes we inflict the punishment on ourselves.
A problem of having insecurities, then. What were yours?
I believe that everything was born from a lack of acceptance of my body, from having been an overweight teenager. It’s difficult to have a relationship with another person if you don’t like yourself, and don’t love yourself. Later, my difficulties of coping with success were added to this. I’m a workaholic. The truth is that for ten years everything that was not related to music I parked elsewhere.
First you couldn’t be happy because you weighed too much, then because you worked too much?
For a long time I did everything I could to postpone the possibility of living peacefully. Maybe because I grew up with the idea that someone who suffers has more dignity, that being happy means being less good. In my family someone who feels badly, who sacrifices himself, is the person who deserves the most respect.
That’s what it was like at home?
I think it’s a common thought: if you’re happy, you’re superficial. A false idea, but it’s been difficult to eradicate. For a long time I felt I had to fuel the torments rather than overcome them. Until one day I told myself: “I have a job I like, financial independence, people who love me, good health. Why can’t I just simply enjoy my life?”
Experiencing your romantic side in an open manner means enabling people to get to know you at a deeper level. And it’s hard for a shielded person like me to accept this. I’ve always thought that if people were aware of the other parts, that it would make me weaker, assailable. And, probably, having to deal with homosexuality has “aggravated” things. But again: I can’t point the finger at anyone else, only at myself. Even now I can’t figure out why I considered homosexuality a kind of “disease”. And the worst of it all is that I was able to understand it five years ago. A country boy like me, accustomed to seeing his parents work their ass off to bring home a paycheck, facing an opportunity like the one I had, I nullified myself for the job. But if the first years I was overwhelmed, for what happened after I have no excuse. I’m not pretending to save anyone, but if my book could help someone avoid losing all the years that I’ve wasted, then I would be happy.
When did you first have doubts about your sexual orientation?
There’s an element that, so to say, hasn’t worked in my favor: I liked women. Perhaps the fact that I’ve had girlfriends, that I’ve had experiences with girls, didn’t help me understand that the feeling, the heart, was somewhere else. Like everyone, I started asking myself the first questions in my adolescence. But in those years I had a girlfriend.
Is it the Sara you talk about in the book?
In life she has another name: each person that is mentioned in the book, I asked them to choose a pseudonym. We were together for four years, from when I was 16 to 20. With her I talked for the first time about my doubts. I told her that I thought I was also attracted to guys.
And what did she say?
She sweetly laughed at me, told me it couldn’t be true. If at that age you have a love affair with a boy, you’re good together and in love, how else can you respond?
Later, what happened?
After the breakup with Sara, the record deal came: in two months I was on top of the charts. I had no time to think about anything else. Also, as I happened to have a sort of heterosexual history, I gave myself the opportunity to believe that I was mistaken. I put aside my uncertainties.
Except, sometimes, when meeting a man that you liked.
I am romantic-minded. I don’t care about the outside of a person. I know that sounds like the usual bullshit, but it’s true: what counts is the manner in which someone talks, whether they can tell me something I don’t know, or if they’ve made choices that strike me.
And what happened when you got to know someone capable of affecting you in such a way?
I went into crisis. On one hand I could no longer pretend anything, on the other hand I was still trying to do so, to escape a by then evident reality.
Don’t tell me you’ve been celibate for ten years, because I don’t believe it.
Almost. My life has been absurd. I don’t know how many nights I’ve spent locked in hotel rooms. Paris, Madrid, all those big cities looked beautiful, but also gave me a terrible sense of displacement. Of that period, I remember most of all the continuous feeling of hunger, because I didn’t like to go to dinner with the people of the record label, and I didn’t call room service. A bit because I didn’t know how, a bit because I didn’t want to spend too much money. When I think about that time, I feel sorry for myself.
The fact remains that for years there have been rumors that you’re gay. They’ve even said it on TV, written it in magazines.
They said that I lived a double life and that I was happy with a man. That made me so angry. Not because I didn’t want to pass for a gay guy, but because the truth is that I wanted to have a boyfriend. And, instead, I had no one. And what’s more, I felt bad because I wasn’t able to clear things up with myself.
Were you ever afraid of being discovered?
No. And that’s another thing I’d like to say: I have never publicly denied being gay. It would have been easy to set them on the wrong track by coming out with a model. But I’ve never lied. Rather, I omitted.
In the book it says that, at a certain point, to put a stop to the rumors, they wanted to organize some pretend paparazzi shots.
Unfortunately, it’s true. But I couldn’t care less. On the contrary, I was scattering clues.
Apart from the video with Carrà? (laughs)
That, in fact, was a big fat clue.
With friends, for example, I cracked jokes. It was as if I wanted to say it without jeopardizing myself. But, at the same time, I denied the truth to myself. It became a challenge: “Don’t ever let them find out.” A useless game of massacre, because that’s what I was doing to myself. Up to the point where, even though I had an album coming out, I started to get up in the morning with the feeling that I didn’t have a reason to go on.
The phase of depression you suffered from and you talk about in the book.
I had finished my album. For me, it was the most beautiful that I had ever done, and I didn’t want it to pay the consequences of something that I could no longer keep under control. It was then that I hit rock bottom, and I started the process of analysis. Two years ago the idea of sitting here talking to you about these things would have been inconceivable.
The book, however, rather than an end point seems more like a starting point. Now what do you expect to happen?
Re-reading my diaries, I realized how my friends have always been important, and how they were made to suffer because of my distance. From now on I want to be more present. I want to come back to live in Italy. I’m already looking for a home in Milan. And, meanwhile, I’ve already talked to everyone. I called them one by one: “Let’s go have a coffee,” I told each of them. I’d prepared a kind of schedule.
How did they react?
They were relieved and happy. They couldn’t take it anymore to see me crushed under that weight, without being able to say anything. Because they already knew, they’re not stupid, but out of thoughtfulness towards me they were never the first to tackle the subject.
A new home, more time for friends. And love?
For the moment I am alone, but I hope soon that will no longer be the case. Because I believe in love, in a perplexing manner. It’s absurd that I’ve never really had it. A bit like a sweet tooth compelling himself to not eat even a small pastry.
You see that even you admit it: if you don’t have a love life it’s because you denied it to yourself. I ask you again: why?
I would’ve had to live a double life and I’m not capable of that. It annoys me when they talk about the acceptance of homosexuality. If anything, I yearn for the sharing. A family that accepts my choices is not enough for me, I want them to experience it together with me. And the same goes for my friends.
How do you imagine true love?
You’re happy enough to overcome all of the difficulties with a smile. But I hope I can word it better very soon.
Do you mind having thrown away ten years?
So much. What else can I say? So, so, so much.